Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sharjah Book Authority: Publisher's Conference

John Scognamiglio Book: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari

Candlewick Press (MA): Better Than We Found It: Conversations to Help Save the World by Frederick Joseph and Porsche Joseph

Parallax Press: How to Live: The Essential Mindfulness Journal (Mindfulness Essentials) by Thich Nhat Hanh, illustrated by Jason Deantonis

Shadow Mountain: Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together by Tara Teaspoon

Berkley Books: The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

MIT Press: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

Quotation of the Day

Ferlinghetti on City Lights: 'Whole Thing Took About Five Minutes'

"I was coming up from my painting studio, and I drove up Columbus Avenue. It was a route I wouldn't normally take, and I saw a guy [Peter Martin] putting up a sign where City Lights is now. I said, 'What are you doing?' and he said, 'I'm starting a paperback bookstore, but I don't have any money. I've got $500.' I said, 'I have $500.' The whole thing took about five minutes. We shook hands, and the store opened in June 1953 as City Lights Pocket Bookshop."

--Lawrence Ferlinghetti in a San Francisco Chronicle profile. His latest book, Time of Useful Consciousness (New Directions), will be released next month. Ferlinghetti called the new work "a statement about where culture is. I'm trying to be an optimist."

Camcat Books: Armadas in the Mist: Volume 3 (The Empire of the House of Thorns) by Christian Klaver


Bowker: 'In-Person, Personal Recommendations' Still Key

Last year, nearly 50% of consumers altered their book-buying behavior, according Bowker's v-p of publishing services Kelly Gallagher, who spoke at the Digital Book World Discoverability and Marketing event yesterday. He estimated that 39% of books are sold online and "people discover new books in up to 44 different ways," DBW reported, adding that despite the ongoing upheaval in the book trade, one constant remains--"in-person, personal recommendations are the No. 1 way people discover books, no matter who they are or how they read."

Gallagher suggested that book marketers focus on the readers they want to reach, know where those readers can be found and what marketing they'll respond to. As an example, he cited tablet owners, who "discover new books through free excerpts about 15% of the time; but readers of young adult fiction discover new books through the same way about 6% of the time. So marketers of young adult fiction have a lot to think about when they want to reach readers who read on tablets," DBW wrote.

She Writes Press: Canaries Among Us: A Mother's Quest to Honor Her Child's Individuality in a Culture Determined to Negate It by Kayla Taylor

Kobo Expands to Portugal via FNAC

Kobo has launched a partnership with retailer FNAC to offer consumers in Portugal a "localized e-reading experience with local content, including favorite authors and books in Portuguese." FNAC will sell the Kobo Touch for €99.90 (US$129). Kobo introduced its products in FNAC's stores in France last November.

"The Portuguese language is the common heritage to four percent of the seven billion inhabitants of the planet, across five continents," said Cláudia Almeida e Silva, general manager of FNAC Portugal. "We feel this entry into the Portuguese e-book market is a priority for FNAC due to its growth potential." 

FNAC opened its first store in Portugal in 1998 and now has 17 stores there.


CamCat Publishing: The Darker the Skies (Earth United) by Bryan Prosek

Sale of Japanese Books in Beijing Stores Suspended

Some major bookstores in Beijing have begun suspending sales of Japanese books in response to the tension between the two countries as "ties remain tense due to their territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea," the Japan Times reported, noting that "bookshops in the city started removing Japanese books after municipal authorities began partially regulating books related to the country."

In an earlier report, the Japan Times had cited sources who said "several Chinese publishers in Beijing were notified by authorities Friday that they must halt the planned publication of books written by Japanese or protected by Japanese copyrights, and books related to Japan that are being written by Chinese authors."

The Chengdu Business Daily reported "as early as September 14 that such an order had indeed been given out by the Beijing Press and Publications Bureau," the Shanghaist noted.

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

Seventh Annual Carle Honors for Picture Books

Last Thursday night at Guastavino's in New York City, authors, artists, publishers and other book-lovers gathered for the seventh annual Carle Honors, hosted by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

L.-r.: Abrams's Jason Wells and Charles Kochman celebrate with Mo Willems, who introduced honoree Christopher Cerf, Molly Leach, wife to and book designer for Lane Smith, honored in the "Artist" category.

Jules Feiffer and daughter Kate Feiffer, and Norton Juster, who with his wife, Jeanne Juster, are longtime friends of Eric and Barbara Carle, opened the ceremony. Juster joked that his role was to "give Eric the adulation he's come to expect." He praised Carle for his "heart-stopping stories of mixed-up insects" and announced that Carle would be releasing his first adult book, The Very Horny Bunny Rabbit.

Eric Carle said he was warned that Juster planned to "roast" him, but it wasn't as bad as he'd feared. He announced that November 10 marks the kickoff of the 10th anniversary celebration at the Eric Carle Museum, which was inspired by Japan's 30 museums devoted to picture-book artwork.

Christopher Cerf was honored in the "Bridge" category ("bring[ing] the art of the picture book to larger audiences") as an author, record and TV producer (including the Emmy award–winning Between the Lions for PBS) and composer-lyricist, most notably for the more than 300 songs he's written for Sesame Street. "My dad was lucky enough to publish them," Cerf said; his father, Bennett Cerf, founder of Random House, published The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer.

Cerf said he credits the Dr. Seuss books with "building the bridge" to other media, and pointed out that prior to The Cat in the Hat, mostly wordless books were used in schools. "I was lucky enough to work on the Beginner Books--I don't know how that happened," he said with a laugh. "At first people thought TV would be inimical to books. But we made a lot of books famous on TV."

Artist Floyd Cooper introduced Kent Brown as not only an educator, editor-in-chief emeritus for Highlights for Children, which he joined 40 years ago, and executive director of the Highlights Foundation, which hosts workshops for authors and artists, but also as Farmer Brown. "Now," Cooper added, "we'll call him Angel Brown" for his Carle Honor indicating his generous financial support of the Carle Museum. Brown said that at a recent board meeting for Highlights, a board member said it best: "It's refreshing to serve on the board of a company that believes in its mission."

Leave Your Sleep collaborators author-lyricist Natalie Merchant and artist Barbara McClintock introduced Francis Foster, their editor and honoree in the "Mentor" category. Foster said that as she was coming up through the ranks, "Who you were was how you mentored." She told an anecdotal gem about being sent as a young assistant to Roald Dahl, to tell him to "tone down his racist characterization of the Oompa-Loompas." She didn't quite understand why she was chosen until she learned that "no one in the department was speaking to Roald Dahl at the time. I was a safe sacrifice." Foster edited Dahl for many years, she said, "until I, too, had the inevitable falling out."

Legends in the field: (l.-r.) Anita Silvey, Frances Foster and George Nicholson, agent at Sterling Lord Literistic.

Anita Silvey, author and former publisher at Houghton Mifflin Children's Books as well as The Horn Book, introduced Lane Smith, honoree in the "Artist" category. Silvey said that while she was editor of The Horn Book, she predicted that Lane Smith would be "the greatest artist since Chris Van Allsburg." She then made another prediction: "His best is still yet to come." In his acceptance, Lane Smith said, simply, "I am blessed with arrested development, and I know I'll be forever fascinated with childhood." He also thanked his wife, Molly Leach, who "has designed every book I've ever illustrated." --Jennifer M. Brown

photo of Christopher Cerf by Johnny Wolf


Candlewick Press (MA): The Real Dada Mother Goose: A Treasury of Complete Nonsense by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Julia Rothman


Image of the Day: A Very Big Clifford the Big Red Dog

Yesterday a very big Clifford the Big Red Dog image draped the front of Scholastic's New York City headquarters, where the company hosted "Clifford's Biggest Birthday Party Ever" on Clifford's 50th anniversary. Celebrants included Norman Bridwell, Clifford's creator (seated on the stage); hundreds of New York City schoolchildren; and thousands of classrooms nationwide that participated live via webcast.


Photo: Stuart Ramson/Insider Images for Scholastic

Moments in Virtual History:'s Original Homepage

Buzzfeed featured a screen print of's first homepage in 1995, and included the sentiments of many at the time: "It's named after a river in South America. Its founder is a banker who missed the dotcom bubble. We give it six months tops."

Personnel: Billy Clark to Hachette; Shannon Sampson to MIBA

Effective October 1, William "Billy" Clark is joining Hachette Book Group as v-p of client sales and services/Nashville sales. He will oversee client services, manage the newly formed client sales team and act as Nashville sales liaison/sales director. He previously worked at Anderson Merchandisers for 18 years, most recently as v-p, merchandising sales and marketing, responsible for the purchasing, merchandising and marketing of all books for Walmart.


Shannon Sampson has joined the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association on a part-time basis. She was a marketing assistant at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press for the past four years. She has also worked as an intern at MIBA for two summers.

She will work on a range of projects but focus on creating newsletters, managing Midwest Connections and expanding MIBA's social networking. She may be reached at and 763-544-2993.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Deepak Chopra on God

This morning on the Today Show: Mike Isabella, author of Mike Isabella's Crazy Good Italian: Big Flavors, Small Plates (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $35, 9780738215662).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown, $24.99, 9780316219365).


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Sheila Bair, author of Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself (Free Press, $26.99, 9781451672480). She will also appear on MSNBC's Morning Joe and NPR's Diane Rehm Show.

Also on Fox & Friends: Ann Coulter, author of Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama (Sentinel, $26.95, 9781595230997).


Tomorrow morning on Live with Kelly and Michael: Andrea Arden, author of Dog Training Bible (Barron's Educational Series, $18.99, 9780764164330).


Tomorrow on Chelsea, Lately: Penny Marshall, author of My Mother Was Nuts (New Harvest, $26, 9780547892627).


Tomorrow night on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight: Nate Silver, author of The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594204111).


Tomorrow night on Nightline: Deepak Chopra, author of God: A Story of Revelation (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062020680).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Karen Handel, author of Planned Bullyhood: The Truth Behind the Headlines about the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Howard, $24.99, 9781451697940).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Jim Holt, author of Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story (Liveright, $27.95, 9780871404091).

Movie Visuals: Life of Pi Trailer; Les Misérables 'Extended Look'

A "rousing new international trailer" for Ang Lee's adaptation of Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi "has emerged with some new, non-boat footage," Indiewire reported.


Universal released an "extended look" featurette for Les Misérables, the film musical based on Victor Hugo's classic novel, reported. The project, which is directed by Tom Hooper, stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.  

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, October 2:

America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't by Stephen Colbert (Grand Central, $28.99, 9780446583978) is another dose of satirical punditry from the Colbert Report host.

In Sunlight and in Shadow by Mark Helprin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780547819235) is a love story set in 1940s New York.

Live by Night: A Novel by Dennis Lehane (Morrow, $27.99, 9780060004873) follows a career criminal in Prohibition Boston.

My Last Empress: A Novel by Da Chen (Crown, $25, 9780307381309) takes place in 19th century China, where a Westerner searches for a lost love.

Son by Lois Lowry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99, 9780547887203) concludes the series begun in The Giver.

Ten-Gallon War: The NFL's Cowboys, the AFL's Texans, and the Feud for Dallas's Pro Football Future by John Eisenberg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780547435503) explores how two pro football teams were created in Dallas during the same year.

Toby's Room by Pat Barker (Doubleday, $25.95, 9780385524360) follows a British family during the Great War.

The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity by Steven H. Strogatz (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780547517650) reveals the mathematic principles connected to everyday life.

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems by Rhoda Janzen (Grand Central, $14.99, 9781455528202) is the memoir of a Mennonite.

Now in paperback:

The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future by Ralph Nader (Harper, $14.99, 9780062083531).

Book Review

Review: The Heart Broke In

The Heart Broke in by James Meek (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28 hardcover, 9780374168711, October 2, 2012)

The Heart Broke In, James Meek's smart and generous look at contemporary morality, is the kind of novel to press into the hands of someone who asks, "Why read fiction?"

Set mainly in Britain, Meek's novel revolves around brother and sister Ritchie and Bec Shepherd. He's an over-the-hill rock star whose gig on the show Teen Makeover provides ready access to temptations he finds hard to resist. She's a parasite researcher so driven to develop a malaria vaccine she risks infection herself. Both struggle with the legacy of the murder of their father, a British soldier, by an IRA terrorist 25 years earlier. When Bec connects with Alex Comrie, a cell biologist whose research raises hopes of reversing the aging process, her former lover's threat to expose Ritchie's misbehavior is the ticking bomb that propels the narrative.

To preserve his comfortable life, will Ritchie reveal a confidence his sister has shared with him? What moral compromises will Bec consider to give Alex the child he so desperately wants? Has science, with its ability to end diseases and potentially alter the human lifespan, become our new religion? The questions have the ring of soap opera, but Meek's wise and occasionally humorous treatment is anything but that, as he steers his troubled protagonists through what Bec thinks of as the "vast, alien moral landscape," all the while relishing the pleasures of their outwardly successful lives.

Though the Big Questions--mortality, integrity, forgiveness and sexual fidelity--haven't disappeared, the source of ready answers has. Traditional religious values, as embodied in the ironically named Moral Foundation or in the chill of Alex's fundamentalist cousin's rejection of his dying atheist fathe, are flawed. Bec, and probably even Ritchie, "whose conscience troubled him only when somebody pointed out that he had one and that it was bound to trouble him," are decent people by today's generous standards, but their essential goodness doesn't provide them with helpful signposts for living a moral life.

These characters exist in a world that brings to mind Dostoevsky's observation, "If there is no God, everything is permitted." That might be going a bit too far, Meek seems to suggest, but finding the shifting boundary between what is and is not right behavior has never been harder. In seeking it, The Heart Broke In invites us to look at ourselves in all our flawed human beauty without turning away. --Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: Set in present-day Britain, James Meek's novel poses serious moral questions in a world where the source of answers is anything but obvious.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Guinness World Records 2013
2. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
3. Taking Chances by Molly McAdams
4. Let Me Be the One by Bella Andre
5. Death on a High Floor by Charles Rosenberg
6. Better Off Without Him by Dee Ernst
7. The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle
8. Plain Jane by Carolyn McCray
9. The Wild Ones by M. Leighton
10. Hard Mated by Jennifer Ashley

[Many thanks to!]


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